Early on in our adoption journey, a well-meaning person told me she wished that Craig and I could have one of our own children some day. After I picked up my jaw from the floor and before I turned Hulk on her, I thought to myself, “She doesn’t get it.”
As we prepare for the finalization of Isaac’s adoption, I am reminded of this naivety. She didn’t understand that adoption describes how you enter a family. It is neither a label nor an indicator of how someone is valued. Imagine sitting down to dine with a family that has adopted. Certainly the parents wouldn’t use an introduction like, “These are my sons Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John- he’s adopted.” I point out the silliness of this, because adoption is every part of having a family of your own.
A Place at the Table
Two Years Later
Back in January I shared “A Letter to Baby.” In it was the letter I had originally written on July 9th, 2014 to our unknown future child. At the time it was written Craig and I had no answers to the who, when, or how of this future little one. When I shared it with you on the blog in January, Craig and I were six months into our adoption journey and waiting to be matched. There were still so many unknowns, but we felt convicted that God had placed it on our hearts to grow our family.
The letter was intended as a love note, but it was also a reminder to me that, even back then, God was providing. Two years have passed since that letter was first written. You may remember that I started my letter “Dear Isaac” and today, I write to you with Baby Isaac nestled up to me and a message of encouragement for you for what God has placed on your heart to do!
I Was Adopted Too
At our lunch with Birthmom, Craig and I had the opportunity to share the cards that our friends, family, co-workers, and strangers made back at the Burge Family Adoption Fundraiser. Back in January, folks drew pictures, wrote sweet messages, and included their favorite scripture verses for Baby Burge. There was so much love and excitement on those cards! What an opportunity to share with Birthmom how loved this child was before we even knew who he was and what excitement there was that one day he’d be welcomed into the family!
A Mother’s Love
Officially starting our adoption journey this past summer, I wasn’t sure what to think about birthmothers. There was a part of me that struggled to understand them. I had the thought early on that a baby would show up, maybe via stork even, and that was it. I had forgotten or wanted to ignore a very important and special person in adoption: the birthmother.
I have grown so much in my understanding of birthmothers since then that I feel ashamed some times to think about my prior ignorance. Today, I recognize them as special individuals and respect them for what they’re doing for their child. My heart also goes out to birthmoms who are often misunderstood and devalued. There is nothing that quite gets the Hulk in me fired up when I hear negative comments about birthmoms.
For me, I just didn’t know about birthmoms. I was ignorant. I lacked any awareness about birthmoms. I was clueless. And many of the opinions that Craig and I hear weekly demonstrate the same ignorance I was under.
A Letter to Baby
Some time ago, though it feels like forever, I wrote a letter to Baby Burge. In it, I called our baby “Isaac.” I’ve written before about Isaac and his parents, Abraham and Sarah from the Bible (Read Baby Names and Mountains). Their story, which begins in Genesis 12, is a record of God’s work displayed in their lives. His perfect love, provision, and timing are demonstrated throughout. Early on in our journey of growing our family, I have held on to their story and these truths about God.
I mailed the last “In love” ornament this week!
Several months ago I never would’ve imagined the response to our adoption journey from our friends, family, coworkers, and strangers. At the time, I was just tossing around an idea for Christmas ornaments and working on some prototypes. There were many obstacles to the ornaments at first: charred clay (I kept one of these just for fun), our oven catching fire (while preheating to bake the ornaments of all things), and a broken arm (which makes rolling out clay next to impossible). Finally, we took the chance and shared the “In love” ornaments with the world.
Craig thought we’d have some interest and maybe make a couple dozen. I thought it would be a miracle if they brought in close to $2,000 in donations. The actual response was incredible!
The Adoption Story
I often daydream about our adoption. I try to picture in my head what the birthmom and Baby will look like. I wonder what her name is. I look forward to praying for her by name. I wonder if Baby will be a he or she. I wonder what Baby’s personality will be like. In the waiting phase of adoption, there’s not much that Craig and I know about our growing family. One day we’ll get a phone call from our agency that we’ve been matched. Until then, this adoption story is full of unknowns.
All this daydreaming about our adoption got me thinking about adoption and its part in the Bible. There are numerous examples in the Bible: Moses was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter (Exodus 2). Esther was adopted by her uncle, Mordecai (Esther 2). Jesus was adopted by Joseph (Matthew 1). And, as I became more familiar with adoption in scripture, I came to better understand the adoption story and God as the adoptive Father.
Note: This is a guest post by Beth’s non-writing husband, Craig. For those of you who came in hopes of enjoying another of Beth’s insightful and articulate posts, please do not run away in fear never to return! She’ll be back next time to restore your faith in bloggers. So, please bear with me…
I’ve been thinking a lot about parenting and, more specifically, fatherhood since Beth and I began the adoption process. Am I ready to be a dad? Will I be a good dad? Is someone really going to entrust me with a child? I’ve thought about how we would raise Baby Burge and what ideals we want to instill in him or her.
I truly enjoy reading about the healing of the man born blind in John 9. That sounds awful at first, but it’s not about the man being blind. It’s about the healing of the man! The disciples were with Jesus when they saw a man who was born blind. They asked Jesus why this happened. Was it the man’s sins? Was it his parents’ sins? I love how Jesus responds. He replies in verse 3 that “this happened so that the works of God might be displayed.” A miracle happened when this man was healed. God’s work was displayed in his life, those that witnessed, and just imagine, all the others that were told of this!
God has been displaying himself in our lives as well! God has already done immeasurably more than we could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21). Craig and I continue to be surprised and impressed at how God has provided. I started recording events during the adoption process. It’s been overwhelming at times, but it is amazing to look back and realize how He has blessed us. Some events record our progress through the steps of the adoption process, some events show the bumps in the road, and many more other share God’s blessings. This list, I have no doubt is abridged, because God has done these and so much more than I can even recognize.
Hindsight: A Vision Check
Craig and I were very prayerful and intentional in our prayers about growing our family. We prayed for God’s will. We prayed for his guidance and direction. I wanted to be obedient to his will. I wanted to take the right step. Still, I felt like I was wrestling with questions that didn’t have answers.
I couldn’t see the plan.
I realize now, that I needed to listen. I was the one who kept asking God: How? Why? And my favorite: When???
You see, Craig and I knew we wanted to grow our family. We felt compelled that God wanted us to grow our family, but things were not falling into place like I thought they should. As a healthy type 1 diabetic, no matter how tightly managed, pregnancy is considered high risk for me. My doctor wanted even tighter control, and everything I tried failed. Each time my lab work revealed I was healthy, but it was not quite good enough for pregnancy. It was exhausting. I’m a healthy eater, I’d think to myself. I workout. I ran a mini marathon for goodness sake. I take care of myself and manage my diabetes as best I can. I got to the point of complete exhaustion. I didn’t understand God’s will.
An Ephesians 1:5 Blog
"In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will." -Eph. 1:5 (NIV)
I am an adopted daughter of Christ sharing how God is at work as we grow our family through adoption.
I pray that I can begin to express in words how God's been at work in our lives. I pray that He will be glorified as we share with others. I pray for you! I pray that as you read this you will see God at work in your own life and that your relationship with Him will be blessed.